Best Southern Literature
Our favorite works of Southern literature.

(Books that are set in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia.)
201 Father and Son
by
4.14 of 5 stars 4.14 avg rating — 1,086 ratings
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202 The Golden Apples
by
3.94 of 5 stars 3.94 avg rating — 521 ratings
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203 Memoirs of General W.T. She...
by
4.05 of 5 stars 4.05 avg rating — 694 ratings
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204 Ella Minnow Pea
by
3.82 of 5 stars 3.82 avg rating — 13,277 ratings
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204 Me Talk Pretty One Day
by
3.94 of 5 stars 3.94 avg rating — 399,538 ratings
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206 Kentucky Straight: Stories
by
4.11 of 5 stars 4.11 avg rating — 407 ratings
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207 Before Women Had Wings
by
3.97 of 5 stars 3.97 avg rating — 1,869 ratings
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208 The Mysterious Stranger
by
4.14 of 5 stars 4.14 avg rating — 3,785 ratings
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209 Biloxi Blues
by
3.77 of 5 stars 3.77 avg rating — 555 ratings
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210 Purple Cane Road (Dave Robi...
by
4.09 of 5 stars 4.09 avg rating — 3,178 ratings
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211 The House Next Door
by
3.74 of 5 stars 3.74 avg rating — 3,934 ratings
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211 The Unvanquished
by
3.72 of 5 stars 3.72 avg rating — 2,959 ratings
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213 Outer Dark
by
3.88 of 5 stars 3.88 avg rating — 6,631 ratings
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214 The House on Tradd Street (...
by
3.95 of 5 stars 3.95 avg rating — 6,577 ratings
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214 Saving Grace
by
3.88 of 5 stars 3.88 avg rating — 1,356 ratings
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216 The Floatplane Notebooks
by
3.68 of 5 stars 3.68 avg rating — 656 ratings
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217 Novels, 1926-1929
by
4.35 of 5 stars 4.35 avg rating — 65 ratings
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218 Naked
by
4.07 of 5 stars 4.07 avg rating — 149,773 ratings
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218 Complete Novels: The Heart ...
by
4.4 of 5 stars 4.40 avg rating — 611 ratings
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218 A Redbird Christmas
by
3.81 of 5 stars 3.81 avg rating — 7,718 ratings
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221 13 Alabama Ghosts and Jeffrey
by
4.19 of 5 stars 4.19 avg rating — 161 ratings
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222 Provinces of Night
by
4.22 of 5 stars 4.22 avg rating — 669 ratings
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223 The Cheer Leader
by
3.7 of 5 stars 3.70 avg rating — 328 ratings
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224 Airships
by
4.19 of 5 stars 4.19 avg rating — 1,540 ratings
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225 Ferris Beach
by
3.6 of 5 stars 3.60 avg rating — 574 ratings
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226 The Same Sweet Girls
by
3.73 of 5 stars 3.73 avg rating — 3,264 ratings
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227 Savannah Breeze (Weezie and...
by
4.01 of 5 stars 4.01 avg rating — 8,427 ratings
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228 Novels, 1957-1962
by
4.39 of 5 stars 4.39 avg rating — 36 ratings
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229 Lost Souls
by
3.88 of 5 stars 3.88 avg rating — 11,078 ratings
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230 Chemistry and Other Stories
by
4.16 of 5 stars 4.16 avg rating — 351 ratings
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230 Fever Season (Benjamin Janu...
by
4.1 of 5 stars 4.10 avg rating — 807 ratings
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230 Gap Creek
by
3.65 of 5 stars 3.65 avg rating — 27,979 ratings
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233 Last Car To Elysian Fields ...
by
4.07 of 5 stars 4.07 avg rating — 2,693 ratings
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234 Where the Heart Is
by
3.96 of 5 stars 3.96 avg rating — 153,565 ratings
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235 True Grit
by
4.11 of 5 stars 4.11 avg rating — 16,081 ratings
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236 The Complete Vampire Chroni...
by
4.36 of 5 stars 4.36 avg rating — 4,225 ratings
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237 Love in a Dry Season
by
3.7 of 5 stars 3.70 avg rating — 156 ratings
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238 Dust Tracks on a Road
by
4.05 of 5 stars 4.05 avg rating — 2,614 ratings
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239 Up from Slavery
by
4.0 of 5 stars 4.00 avg rating — 8,584 ratings
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240 Lonesome Dove
by
4.44 of 5 stars 4.44 avg rating — 79,160 ratings
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241 Black Mountain Breakdown
by
3.88 of 5 stars 3.88 avg rating — 704 ratings
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242 The Man that Corrupted Hadl...
by
3.82 of 5 stars 3.82 avg rating — 792 ratings
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243 Roughing It
by
3.89 of 5 stars 3.89 avg rating — 4,010 ratings
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244 The Bottoms
by
4.14 of 5 stars 4.14 avg rating — 2,737 ratings
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245 Dress Your Family in Cordur...
by
4.05 of 5 stars 4.05 avg rating — 142,714 ratings
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246 Man in the Blue Moon
by
3.57 of 5 stars 3.57 avg rating — 343 ratings
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246 Still Waters
by
4.77 of 5 stars 4.77 avg rating — 13 ratings
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248 Velva Jean Learns to Drive
by
3.87 of 5 stars 3.87 avg rating — 2,285 ratings
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249 The Well and the Mine
by
3.74 of 5 stars 3.74 avg rating — 2,233 ratings
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250 The Strange Career of Jim C...
by
4.07 of 5 stars 4.07 avg rating — 905 ratings
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250 Georgia Bottoms
by
3.35 of 5 stars 3.35 avg rating — 2,353 ratings
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250 The Wild Palms [If I Forget...
by
3.85 of 5 stars 3.85 avg rating — 1,916 ratings
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253 Ship of Fools
by
3.71 of 5 stars 3.71 avg rating — 1,036 ratings
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254 The Marrow of Tradition
by
3.76 of 5 stars 3.76 avg rating — 1,082 ratings
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254 Twelve Years a Slave
by
4.16 of 5 stars 4.16 avg rating — 13,412 ratings
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256 Jim the Boy
by
3.79 of 5 stars 3.79 avg rating — 1,719 ratings
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256 She Flew the Coop: A Novel ...
by
3.9 of 5 stars 3.90 avg rating — 776 ratings
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258 Meridian
by
3.63 of 5 stars 3.63 avg rating — 2,863 ratings
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259 Follow Me Down: A Novel
by
4.03 of 5 stars 4.03 avg rating — 116 ratings
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259 The Strangers on Montagu St...
by
4.16 of 5 stars 4.16 avg rating — 2,960 ratings
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261 The Whisper of the River
by
4.31 of 5 stars 4.31 avg rating — 996 ratings
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262 Spencer's Mountain
by
3.9 of 5 stars 3.90 avg rating — 240 ratings
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262 The Girl On Legare Street (...
by
4.07 of 5 stars 4.07 avg rating — 3,949 ratings
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262 The Yearling
by
3.94 of 5 stars 3.94 avg rating — 15,006 ratings
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265 A Cry of Angels
by
4.44 of 5 stars 4.44 avg rating — 59 ratings
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266 Freshwater Road
by
3.72 of 5 stars 3.72 avg rating — 496 ratings
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266 The Education of Little Tree
by
4.06 of 5 stars 4.06 avg rating — 8,139 ratings
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268 Novels, 1936-1940
by
4.46 of 5 stars 4.46 avg rating — 137 ratings
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269 The Missing
by
3.78 of 5 stars 3.78 avg rating — 673 ratings
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269 Winter's Bone
by
3.92 of 5 stars 3.92 avg rating — 12,872 ratings
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271 Cane
by
3.87 of 5 stars 3.87 avg rating — 3,757 ratings
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272 The Civil War, Vol. 1: Fort...
by
4.45 of 5 stars 4.45 avg rating — 4,304 ratings
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273 The Reivers: A Reminiscence
by
3.79 of 5 stars 3.79 avg rating — 3,425 ratings
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273 The Ballad of Frankie Silve...
by
3.98 of 5 stars 3.98 avg rating — 2,313 ratings
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275 Seraph on the Suwanee
by
3.85 of 5 stars 3.85 avg rating — 545 ratings
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276 Carolina Moon
by
3.41 of 5 stars 3.41 avg rating — 338 ratings
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276 Gone South
by
3.85 of 5 stars 3.85 avg rating — 2,829 ratings
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278 Hunting Season (Anna Pigeon...
by
3.79 of 5 stars 3.79 avg rating — 3,077 ratings
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279 Paper Towns
by
4.1 of 5 stars 4.10 avg rating — 166,862 ratings
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280 Escaping the Delta: Robert ...
by
3.99 of 5 stars 3.99 avg rating — 448 ratings
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280 Let the Circle Be Unbroken
by
4.07 of 5 stars 4.07 avg rating — 2,754 ratings
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280 A Land More Kind Than Home
by
3.84 of 5 stars 3.84 avg rating — 8,340 ratings
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283 The House on Coliseum Street
by
3.82 of 5 stars 3.82 avg rating — 62 ratings
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283 An Abundance of Katherines
by
3.82 of 5 stars 3.82 avg rating — 119,125 ratings
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285 27 Wagons Full of Cotton an...
by
3.93 of 5 stars 3.93 avg rating — 376 ratings
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285 Shine
by
3.86 of 5 stars 3.86 avg rating — 7,834 ratings
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287 Morning Glory
by
4.22 of 5 stars 4.22 avg rating — 5,680 ratings
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288 St. Dale (St. Dale, #1)
by
3.4 of 5 stars 3.40 avg rating — 554 ratings
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289 Two or Three Things I Know ...
by
4.07 of 5 stars 4.07 avg rating — 2,143 ratings
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289 The Tin Roof Blowdown (Dave...
by
4.16 of 5 stars 4.16 avg rating — 7,966 ratings
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289 Billy Lynn's Long Halftime ...
by
3.86 of 5 stars 3.86 avg rating — 11,321 ratings
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292 Looking for Alaska
by
4.23 of 5 stars 4.23 avg rating — 298,503 ratings
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293 The Diary of Adam and Eve
by
4.03 of 5 stars 4.03 avg rating — 6,046 ratings
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294 Skinny Dip
by
3.74 of 5 stars 3.74 avg rating — 22,886 ratings
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295 Porch Lights
by
3.77 of 5 stars 3.77 avg rating — 4,528 ratings
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296 Animal, Vegetable, Miracle:...
by
4.02 of 5 stars 4.02 avg rating — 68,897 ratings
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297 Carolina Moon
by
3.99 of 5 stars 3.99 avg rating — 27,015 ratings
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297 Full of Grace
by
3.68 of 5 stars 3.68 avg rating — 2,873 ratings
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299 Return to Sullivan's Island...
by
3.7 of 5 stars 3.70 avg rating — 3,297 ratings
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300 Bulls Island
by
3.77 of 5 stars 3.77 avg rating — 2,870 ratings
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flag this list (?)
714 books · 1,677 voters · list created June 23rd, 2008 by JG (The Introverted Reader) (votes) .
130 likes · like
Lists are re-scored approximately every 5 minutes.


JG (The Introverted Reader)
JG (The Introverted Reader)
2428 books
334 friends
Jessica
Jessica
2004 books
95 friends
Jay
Jay
448 books
19 friends
Jennifer
Jennifer
1449 books
47 friends
Lara
Lara
978 books
127 friends
Brigid *Flying Kick-a-pow!*
Brigid *Flying Kick-a-pow!*
1533 books
4420 friends
Todd
Todd
282 books
78 friends
Carl
Carl
1956 books
78 friends

More voters…


Comments (showing 1-50 of 53) (53 new)


message 1: by TexasMargarita (new)

TexasMargarita I think Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil could almost make it in here, and some day maybe some James Lee Burke


message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

And what about Kathleen Anne Porter?!


message 3: by Sunita (new)

Sunita these books are cool and Ilike them



message 4: by Sunita (new)

Sunita cool book peoples and I like them very much you rock
lvu you people very much and how you keep voting for these book and as for the people who don't do it now and when I say do it now I mean it just do it now .For those people who collect these books u rock so much that I can't say how much it must be for you to read and that is the one things that is the mager thing about collecting books and I hope thatyou keep collecting these books
thank you
sunpoo0994


message 5: by pendy (new)

pendy ditto about james lee burke


message 6: by Joann (new)

Joann The Known World by Edward P Jones


message 7: by [deleted user] (new)

Is The Plain Truth really Southern? Jodi Picoult lives near my sister in VT. I read it but don't remember much about it now. Wasn't it about the Amish?


message 8: by Maxine (new)

Maxine Dexter Aaaw no All the Pretty Horses? That's my favorite Cormac McCarthy book.


message 9: by Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (last edited Mar 29, 2010 08:42PM) (new)

Susanna - Censored by GoodReads The Prince and the Pauper? It's set in Tudor England!

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court is set in a fantasy English Dark Ages.


message 10: by Hayes (new)

Hayes Susanna wrote: "The Prince and the Pauper? It's set in Tudor England!"

Yes... *Southern* Tudor England! ;-)


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Ah dew declare!


 ~☆ Alice☆~ Gone with the Wind is listed twice.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads I told it to check for duplicates, which hopefully got it.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Is this list for works about the South, or by Southerners?


message 15: by ☯Bettie☯ (last edited Oct 20, 2011 12:06PM) (new)

☯Bettie☯ Hayes wrote: "Susanna wrote: "The Prince and the Pauper? It's set in Tudor England!"

Yes... *Southern* Tudor England! ;-)"


hahaha - you are right, the title doesn't say Southern North America now does it; a touch arrogant n'est pas!?


 ~☆ Alice☆~ Susanna wrote: "Is this list for works about the South, or by Southerners?"

Well, Southerners do tend to read books about the South, honey chile.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Yes, indeedy they do!

And I myself interpreted it as "books about the South." But "books by Southerners" is the only way I can think of that Prince and the Pauper, A Tramp Abroad, or A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court could qualify, so I thought I'd ask!


message 18: by ☯Bettie☯ (new)

☯Bettie☯ Susanna wrote: "Yes, indeedy they do!

And I myself interpreted it as "books about the South." But "books by Southerners" is the only way I can think of that Prince and the Pauper, A Tramp Abroad, or A Connecti..."


I'll wait for an answer to your question before voting
:O)


message 19: by holly (new)

holly Plain Truth takes place in Pennsylvania and the author is from New York...


message 20: by David (new)

David Ernest Gaines's novels should be added to this list. So should books by Gayl Jones and Nikki Finney.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads You could add them; it's easy to add books to lists. At the top of the list, at the tab next to "all votes."


message 22: by David (new)

David Thanks, Susanna.


message 23: by Beth (last edited May 12, 2012 08:15PM) (new)

Beth Susanna wrote: "Is this list for works about the South, or by Southerners?"

I took a course called "Southern Literature" at the University of Georgia when I was working on a graduate degree. Southern Literature was defined as literature that was written by a Southerner AND set in the South. I have always found this definition to be very helpful.


message 24: by Shawnee (new)

Shawnee I didn't see West Virginia in the list of states but I added books with author and setting from WV. Most of the state is below the Mason-Dixon line and we mountaineers consider ourselves southerners.


message 25: by Eddie (new)

Eddie Whitlock Forgive my crass marketing here. I've written a book called EVIL IS ALWAYS HUMAN that's been compared to Flannery O'Connor and Cormac McCarthy. I invite you to take a look at it.


message 26: by Tina (new)

Tina Lovell Eddie wrote: "Forgive my crass marketing here. I've written a book called EVIL IS ALWAYS HUMAN that's been compared to Flannery O'Connor and Cormac McCarthy. I invite you to take a look at it."

Beth wrote: "Susanna wrote: "Is this list for works about the South, or by Southerners?"

I took a course called "Southern Literature" at the University of Georgia when I was working on a graduate degree. South..."


TexasMargarita wrote: "I think Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil could almost make it in here, and some day maybe some James Lee Burke"

thank you for the information! I loved "midnight in the garden Of good and evil"


message 27: by Tina (new)

Tina Lovell ~☆ Alice☆~ wrote: "Susanna wrote: "Is this list for works about the South, or by Southerners?"

Well, Southerners do tend to read books about the South, honey chile."
Yes we Do! Tina L.

Eddie wrote: "Forgive my crass marketing here. I've written a book called EVIL IS ALWAYS HUMAN that's been compared to Flannery O'Connor and Cormac McCarthy. I invite you to take a look at it."

Shawnee wrote: "I didn't see West Virginia in the list of states but I added books with author and setting from WV. Most of the state is below the Mason-Dixon line and we mountaineers consider ourselves southerners."


message 28: by Pat (new)

Pat W. Virginia separated from Virginia rather than be part of the South. So, that's a done deal.
"Sophie's Choice" takes place in Europe with no mention of 'the South' so, multiple people putting it on the list is just sad.
Including William Tecumseh Sherman's biography several times is wrong. While a work about only his maniacal acts in the South could be included, it would hardly seem to merit "the Best Southern Literature".
These mistakes aside, the list is enjoyable.


message 29: by Beth (new)

Beth Well stated!I completely agree.


Themis-Athena (Does not and never will own a Kindle) Pat wrote: ""Sophie's Choice" takes place in Europe with no mention of 'the South' so, multiple people putting it on the list is just sad."

Well, in their defense it might be mentioned that the author is from Virginia. Which, owing to the book's setting and subject matter, doesn't make it a "Southern" novel IMHO either, though ... nor, based on the description now added to the list, in the opinon of the list's creator.

JG, do you want the list to be pruned back to books actually set in the states you mentioned?


message 31: by [deleted user] (new)

Oh my god, how is "The Sound and the Fury" not number 1, fuck you Goodreads, this is not debatable


message 32: by Beth (last edited Dec 31, 2012 10:01AM) (new)

Beth Lists are made by Goodreads members/readers. Goodreads provides the arena for its readers who can vote for the various books listed in any Listopia. In other words, people have voted for these books and their rank is the result of these votes. Several books on the list would have been ranked differently for me personally. Nevertheless, it is interesting to see where different books line up after votes are calculated.


message 33: by Steve (new)

Steve Yep, those that like southern lit should vote and/or add their favorites. The list will sort out over time.


message 34: by Susanna - Censored by GoodReads (last edited Dec 31, 2012 09:52AM) (new)

Susanna - Censored by GoodReads The one that makes me scratch my head currently is #36: I Talk Slower Than I Think: An Antidote to Helicopter Parenting, as it looks to be non-fiction?

Also, 5 ratings and 33 votes???


message 35: by Shawnee (new)

Shawnee West Virginia separating from Virginia had more to do with perceived unfair distribution of state resources and divisive beliefs on slavery and nothing to do with whether it wanted to be part of the south. More important, the U.S. Bureau of Census states West Virginia as part of the South Region. I think my position is valid and West Virginia should be included in this category list.


Themis-Athena (Does not and never will own a Kindle) Susanna wrote: "The one that makes me scratch my head currently is #36: I Talk Slower Than I Think: An Antidote to Helicopter Parenting, as it looks to be non-fiction?

Also, 5 ratings and 33 votes???"


The voting pattern is highly suspicious (1 of 1 or, at most, 1 of 2, all of them).

It being nonfiction alas doesn't seem to be a reason for exclusion on this particular list, though (the list title says "literature," not "fiction," and Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil -- currently ranked no. 12 -- is nonfiction as well) ...


message 37: by Sandy (new)

Sandy Pat wrote: "W. Virginia separated from Virginia rather than be part of the South. So, that's a done deal.
"Sophie's Choice" takes place in Europ..."


Sophie's Choice does not take place in Europe,it takes place in New York. Only the memories of Sophie take place in Europe. One of the main characters "Stingo" is a very southern boy who comes to New York to write.


message 38: by Vicki (new)

Vicki Charlaine Harris & Anne Rice made this list, but not Peter Taylor, Elizabeth Hardwick, Dorothea Benton Frank, Anne Rivers Siddons, the Fugitive poets, etc etc. WTF??


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads That's because it's a user-sourced list. You are free to add them, if you like. (It's easy to add books to lists - at the top of the list, at the tab next to "all votes.")


message 40: by Beth (new)

Beth Vicki, those are good candidates for the list and I encourage you to add them. I was not familiar with the Fugitive poets until you mentioned them in your post. That's one of the good thing about Listopia, it allows us to learn from each other regarding books and authors of which we might not have previously known.


message 41: by Manray9 (new)

Manray9 Agreed. That's why "In Cold Blood" shouldn't be on this list.


message 42: by Donna (new)

Donna I am surprised at how little nonfiction is here. I added some, and I voted for Sherman's memoir as #1, since there is absolutely no denying that he changed the course of Southern history, like it or not.


message 43: by Donna (new)

Donna Shawnee wrote: "I didn't see West Virginia in the list of states but I added books with author and setting from WV. Most of the state is below the Mason-Dixon line and we mountaineers consider ourselves southerners."
I really question that subscript also. How is Florida not a Southern state, yet Oklahoma is? Kentucky was not a Confederate state, but it is in the list, and rightfully so. I think West Virginia should be, since culturally, they fit. An argument could be made for Maryland; rural, I think they are Southerners, but the cities are much more northern in character imo.


message 44: by Manray9 (new)

Manray9 Donna wrote: "Shawnee wrote: "I didn't see West Virginia in the list of states but I added books with author and setting from WV. Most of the state is below the Mason-Dixon line and we mountaineers consider ours..."

I grew up in Maryland, but now live in South Carolina. Nobody in SC considers Maryland the South. When I went to grad school in New York City, everyone there considered me Southern. Who knows? Perspective is everything.


message 45: by Manray9 (new)

Manray9 Donna wrote: "I am surprised at how little nonfiction is here. I added some, and I voted for Sherman's memoir as #1, since there is absolutely no denying that he changed the course of Southern history, like it o..."

I disagree about Sherman's memoirs. He was an Ohioan who campaigned in the South. Grant campaigned there too, so why not add 'The Personal Memoirs of U.S. Grant?" Neither work would meet my definition of Southern literature. In fact, I adhere to the definition of literature as "imaginative or creative writing, especially of recognized artistic value." That eliminates non-fiction, although I realize some would consider all written works in a particular language as literature.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads I'd consider Maryland "Southern."

It was a slave state, and kept in the union 150 years ago by hook or by crook (and for good reason - D.C.'s situation would have been utterly untenable if it had seceeded).

Also, I remember from my childhood, that on trips north, that the line dividing where if you asked for "tea" what you automatically got was iced, rather than hot, was about the Maryland/Delaware line. (Circumstantial, I confess.)


message 47: by Manray9 (new)

Manray9 Susanna - Censored by GoodReads wrote: "I'd consider Maryland "Southern."

It was a slave state, and kept in the union 150 years ago by hook or by crook (and for good reason - D.C.'s situation would have been utterly untenable if it had ..."


We always considered the line to be Maryland-Virginia, south of that line they included grits with breakfast.


message 48: by Terry (new)

Terry Perrel Have you read my comic Southern novel, Cooley & Rose, which is primarily set in 1948 South Norfolk, VA? If you like Grit Lit, please take a look at the reviews on Goodreads and Amazon. Thanks.


message 49: by Sue (last edited Jan 03, 2014 08:59PM) (new)

Sue Peyton Place? Oh come on. New Hampshire has never been very southern and Massie's book on Empress Catherine Isn't either. Otherwise there are some great titles here. I'm trying to think of the title of Peter Mattheisen's book so I an add it. Oh well later I guess.
I looked it up...Shadow Country. What a book.


message 50: by Donna (new)

Donna Donna wrote: "Shawnee wrote: "I didn't see West Virginia in the list of states but I added books with author and setting from WV. Most of the state is below the Mason-Dixon line and we mountaineers consider ours..."

I agree, WV should be added to the list of Southern books.


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